Barb and I were married on January 11, 1992. Both of us were employed in Fairfax County Schools (VA), Barbi as a special education teacher and I was a high school administrator. Consequently, we had to wait until the school system's Spring Break in April for any real honeymoon. Barbi was pleased that I had done some research and found the "perfect spot" to celebrate our marriage --- a veritable island paradise!
Barbi is not naive, but her knowledge of geography is somewhat limited. When I said we are going somewhere in the Lesser Antilles, she knew that it must be located in the Caribbean, but she did not know exactly where that actually was. I said it is located near Venezuela, so called Windward Islands. She pressed me further when we were at Dulles Airport boarding a plane for San Juan, Puerto Rico, which was the first stop on our trip. I said our destination is an all-inclusive resort on Young Island. That seemed to satisfy her.
Young Island is one of the Caribbean's most acclaimed resorts. Young Island is a private tropical island just 20 yards off St. Vincent's spectacular southern shore. Luxurious cottages, all meticulously furnished, are dotted throughout lush foliage, with ocean-view terraces to maximize the views and cooling by ceiling fans and the gentle trade winds. It was a "Dream Come True." In my cottage, I could not see the entrances of other cottages due to the beautiful flowering plants and vegetation. There was a fairly large pool in the center of a small group of cottages, located near us, but only seldom did anyone use the pool other than Barbi and me.
I was relieved that Barbi was 100% satisfied with my honeymoon choice and I was 110% satisfied. Next to the pool, inches from our cottage, was a small aviary with two St. Vincent Amazons (Amazona guildingii) gently sparing. I couldn't imagine a better setting for the great time we anticipated; and which we had. When Barbi saw the parrots, she knew my "research" focused on more than a perfect spot to start our family together. She just smiled and gave me a knowing look.
Getting there did involve some flying, of which I am not very fond. We went from Dulles International Airport to Puerto Rico, then a flight to Barbados and then on a small unknown airline to Kingstown, the capital of St. Vincent. The airline was called LIAT, and of course I asked a fellow passenger; (there were about 8 of us) what did LIAT represent? His reply was "Leave Island Any Time". I guess they had a routine to wait until they could fill up the plane, but fortunately, we were in the air fairly quickly. When we arrived, we were met my a handsome West Indian, dressed in light, pastel clothing with cocktails, just like I remember from the TV Show, "Fantasy Island". His name sounded cool to me, Vidal Brown.
If you were around from 1977-1984, you might have seen this great show starring Ricardo Montalbon as Mr. Roarke and Herve Villechaise as T atoo. The show would open with the two of them waiting for a flight to land and when Tatoo saw it coming through the clouds, he would always excitedly yell, "The plane, the plane". Our arrival was reminiscent of Fantasy Island's 154 episodes in the best sense of the meaning. Mr. Brown, upon learning of my fascination with Amazona guildingii, invited me up to see his three noisy St. Vincent Amazons.
Romance, the raison d'etre for all honeymoons, started around dinner time with cocktails and went through much of the evening, but in the morning (after we left our cottage) and afternoon was for looking for my favorite Amazons.
Fortunately, the Forestry Division maintains the Vermont Nature Trails in order to explore the St. Vincent Parrot Reserve. The Reserve is a rain forest habitat, and it conserves 10,870 acres. My understanding is there was a population of 450-500 parrots and that has been very stable over the years.
Barbi and I hired a taxi driver/guide, Andrew, to accompany us to and through...
Hill, Geoffrey 2010,. Bird Coloration, National Geographic:
Washington, DC. Low, Rosemary, 1992, Parrots in Aviculture:
A Photo Reference Guide, Silvio Mattacchione & Co, Ontario. Juniper,
Tony and Parr, Mike, 1998, Parrots: Guide to Parrots of the World, Yale University Press, New Haven and London.